Stayed at yet another borrowed mansion in the Hamptons this Thanksgiving, this one overlooking the exclusive Georgica Pond neighborhood (home to Grey Gardens and folks like Steven Spielberg) although I didn’t realize at first where I was riding the mansion’s borrowed bike. The caretaker suggested I take the bike for a spin so I rode on a pleasantly flat road through the woods to a road that seemed to lead to a body of water. I did see a private sign but also a welcome sign to an estate sale or tour so I rode on in past a few cedar shingled houses, typical fancy Hamptons stuff, and onto the beach which I thought would be a bay but soon realized was Georgica Pond. It was me and the sea birds. No other sign of life as I rode on the sand in the no speed fat tire, wide seat, bike. When the sand started getting soupy and I could find no quasi-public exit, I made a quick dash through someone’s back yard, pushing the bike up to the main road and out.
I soon found Beach Lane, a far more welcoming road to ride, wide, flat, leading straight to the ocean. Gentle wind, sun-soaked, the road was dotted with the occasional mansion, farm-stand and old gnarly-trunked tree. I parked my bike and walked out toward the crashing waves.
Walkway over the Hudson
Another day of spectacular weather in the Hudson River Valley. After another morning hike around my friend’s beautiful 39-acre spread in Dutchess County, we went for brunch at a classic old diner, the EverReady in Hyde Park (eggs with spinach and feta…my favorite dinner fare, plus delicious grilled potatoes with onions, not your everyday hash browns, and fresh squeezed orange juice.)
I was first introduced to East Coast diners by my college friends, who would take me to their hometown favorites in Forest Hills and Long Island. And then there is our favorite stop on the way to Ithaca from NYC or Connecticut: the great Roscoe Diner. I love the shiny metal building, the encyclopedic menu, the huge showy cakes on display and all the locals hanging out over endless cups of coffee, not to mention the patient, efficient, seen-it-all waitresses.
Near the train station in Poughkeepsie, we walked half way across the footbridge over the Hudson, with spectacular views of bucolic waters in the distance and industrial workaday river scenes just below us. I envied the cyclists biking past us. As promised, the almost 2 hour train ride to 125th street offered great river views most of the way and then boom, I emerged in Harlem. I didn’t have to wait long for the m60 bus to Laguardia, a rare public transportation option to the airport and a much better deal ($2.75) than the ripoff black car I am embarrassed to admit I mistook for an Uber on my arrival at Laguardia. ($71…ouch. Lesson learned. Never get in a car with an uber sign unless you’ve ordered an uber online.)
The bus took about an hour but the first stop, surprisingly, was terminal B where my grubby southwest gate was located. Now here I am at the St. Louis airport with a 2.5 hour late night layover (again, a big change from my mad dash here a week ago with a 50 minute connection cut in half by delays.)
Salt point scene
Sadly, I am a little early for the mutsu Apple crop here (due the first week of October) but I did get some good honeycrisps at a roadside stand near where I am staying Salt Point. And we have had gorgeous weather – 70s and sunny with a slight breeze.
We drove past the frank Gehry-designed theatre on The Bard College campus, which looked like his building on the U of Minnesota campus.Then we drove through the nearby towns of Red Hook and Tivoli, which were sleepier than usual because, we learned, places tend to close on Wednesday. We got sandwiches at Otto’s, an old timey grocery store in Germantown where we ordered at the meat counter.
Otto’s in Germantown
Now sitting on the slate patio with my friends of almost 40 years, enjoying the late afternoon at this beautiful place on Allen Road that I’ve been visiting for, um, 31 years. (Some of which is soon to be available via Airbnb…)
Went to the oddest most un-Hamptons place on Saturday for lunch, the Fish farm, a somewhat ramshackle farmed fish operation with big water tanks, ramshackle outbuildings, some geese, and a little weathered shack with some surprisingly delicious and pricey seafood. The menu off season was limited to lobster bisque and sautéed scallops with chanterelles, asparagus and fingerling potatoes, both delicous. it started to drizzle just as the cook came out with our takeaway containers so we couldn’t dine in the worn picnic table area.
We ended up eating at an outdoor picnic area (with somewhat sheltered tables that almost kept us dry) next to a roadside deli in Amagansett. next stop the springs general store which had some cool artsy touches, including a reproduction of a Jackson pollack painting that the painter gave to the proprietor to cover his tab. The real painting is now in Paris. There was also a touching letter from a woman who brought her husband home to die in Springs. The writer was Laurie Anderson (who I first saw perform in London in 1981) and her husband….Lou Reed.
On to Sag Harbor which had far more pricey boutiques that I remembered so we ended up in the thrift store where Noah bought a Polo tie for $2 that should work well for his senate job.
Off season in the Hamptons is my favorite season. It also helps that the weather was unseasonably glorious for late November. In the 60s and sunny and we had the beach outside my cousin’s house In Southampton almost to our selves. We walked barefoot in the sand, which wasn’t even cold to the touch (although the water was), with beachfront mansions back from the shore and seagulls touching walking ahead of us.
I found little of interest during an hour in downtown Southampton, although Paris and Nikki Hilton sauntered into the ridiculously overpriced store where we were gawking at the prices (a cute pea coat that was 50 percent off…of $1690, I kid you not.) The teens in our group were all a twitter!
Most of our meals have been cooked by my uncle’s talented chef, but we did have basic fare at the Princess Diner, between Watermill and Southampton. And some of us had hearty Italian pasta at La Parmigiana, a surprisingly unpretentious place in Southampton.
Bolognese in Southampton
Lovely day in the Hudson Valley with my old friends from London. We are staying at M’s gorgeous 1820’s eyebrow colonial farmhouse full of antiques, cozy couches, artwork and great food and drink set on a hill overlooking forty acres and beyond of red, yellow, orange leaves blanketed rolling mountains.
Today we drove about an hour north from Salt Point to Hudson, NY, stopping en route for some Mutsu apples, my favorite at one of many fruit and veg stAnds. Hudson was, as billed, a hipster haven full of NYC types and old storefronts filled with shops – antiques, boutiques, high design furniture, clothing, cosmetics, Turkish ceramics, you name it. we had a good brunch (yes brunch) at Cafe Le Perch (excellent locally sourced eggs, bacon, home baked bread).
We are having a very relaxing girls weekend, five friends who all worked together in London in the early 1980s, two of us Brits still in living in London, three yanks (in NYC, Tucson, and Des Moines). My flight in on Thursday took an unexpected turn…we ended up being diverted to Allentown, Pennsylvania after we ran out of fuel, allegedly, circling over LaGuardia which was messed up due to bad weather. Fortunately we only stayed briefly on the Tarmac in Allentown then flew back and landed in a suddenly sunny NYC.